Fortune smiled upon a group of fishermen in Yemen who found a floating treasure worth Rs 10 crore inside the carcass of a sperm whale. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the world that mostly rely on fishing as the main source of livelihood. Finding ambergris turned out to be invaluable for the 35 fishermen who spotted the giant sperm whale while ferrying in the waters of Gulf of Aden in southern Yemen.
A fisherman from Seriah first alerted the group of 35 others in Gulf of Aden about the carcass of the giant mammal and told them that it may contain ambergris. On approaching the giant corpse, the fisherfolks noticed a strong smell of marine faecal odour and were sure there was something inside the belly. The group then hooked the dead mammal and took it ashore.
When the fishermen dissected it, they were surprised to find 127 kg lump of waxy, black ambergris. The group was more than happy as they found treasure worth a whopping $1.5 million.
“It was an unimaginable price. We are all poor," one of the men told BBC, adding"We never expected this thing would give us such a huge amount."
Often referred as “treasure of sea” or “floating gold”,ambergris is a solid waxy flammable substance that is produced in the digestive system of sperm whale. One of themost rare and valuable materials, it is derived from whale’s vomit. It is the most sought-after material as it is used in perfumes to help it last longer. Ambergriscan usually sell for up to $50,000 per kilogram.
The fishermen sold the substance at around 1.3bn Yemeni rials which equals to about $1.5 million (£1 million) to a trader from the United Arab of Emirates. They decided to share the profits equally and also donated some of the money to the poor families in their community.